A Perry County family who lives along the Arkansas River was forced out of their home due to flooding and may not be able to return.
The family is in limbo wondering if they will be able to save their home or if they will have to start over. But, it’s not looking good, family members said.
Alfred and Eleanor Crabtrey worked hard to build their home from the ground up. Now, at 75 years old, Alfred is spending several hours each day cleaning the damages the historic Arkansas River Flood left behind for him.
John Haste, who is Crabtrey’s stepson, said this disaster has affected his family greatly.
Family members said the Crabtrey home is “a near total loss due to some structural damage, leaving us wondering if they will be able to recover.”
The home is located at 618 Stony Point Road in Houston, located about five miles outside of Faulkner County, along the Arkansas River.
The exterior of the home was coated in mud. The family couldn’t walk up the steps to the porch without falling. And, the flood waters also shifted the home’s foundation.
Haste said his stepfather should have been fine. The house was built 2 feet above the flood stage. But despite efforts taken early on by the Crabtrey’s, their home was severely affected by the recent flooding event.
“After pulling debris from the home, Alfred realized there was structural damage far beyond what he imagined and knows there would be no way on their limited income he could repair it,” John’s wife, Char, said.
For weeks, the family was unable to get to their home. Since the flood waters began rising, the couple has stayed with John and Char. Eleanor is 85 years old and suffers from dementia.
“They’ve been staying with us at our home in Greers Ferry,” John said. “Everyday she wonders why she’s here and not at home.”
John said that Alfred is dedicated and has been working hard to clean up his Houston home.
“Everyday he commutes from Greers Ferry to work on the home for about 11 to 12 hours,” John told the Log Cabin.
John also said that on top of cleaning up the mess left behind by the flood, his stepfather has been caring for his wife. Helping others is just part of who Alfred is, he said while recalling a time friends of his were headed to visit from Canada but broke down in North Dakota.
Instead of having the couple go back home or seek help nearby, Alfred offered to take his trailer, drive to North Dakota and help the couple out.
“He said, ‘Well let’s just get in the car to go get them’ even though it was 800 miles to get them. He got his trailer and we went to get them,” John said. “They needed a motor in their vehicle, so he helped them to fix it and rebuild it.”
The family is hoping they can salvage the home where they have built many memories but is realizing that it will likely have to be rebuilt, John said.
This entire incident has taken a toll on Alfred. John shed a few tears as he said he hasn’t seen his stepdad cry as much as he has in the last two weeks as he has in his lifetime.
“He built the whole house from the ground up, placed every nail and every brick,” John said. “He built it over a period of 30 years and finished it completely 20 years ago.”
The Houston home has served as the family get-together spot through the years.
“It was a huge family place to go … Christmas, family events and other holidays,” John said. “They’re going to lose everything they have. We’re waiting for everything to dry up right now.”
One of Alfred’s grandson’s created a GoFundMe account to help Alfred and Eleanor through this disaster. The funds will cover the cost of rebuilding the Crabtrey home, John said.
“Now elderly, they live on a fixed income. Thus, the enormity of the loss feels like a mountain to climb,” grandson Sean Haste said. “We are hoping to raise funds to help them fix their home and replace the things they have lost (clothing, furniture, appliances, etc). Please consider giving whatever you can to contribute to help these wonderful people to get back in their home.”
Sean, who lives in Seattle, Washington, made a trip to Arkansas to help his family with the clean-up project.
To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/crabtrey-home-rebuild-historic-arkansas-flooding?fbclid=IwAR16J-H8sYwTYrJtXHwCixaaqGlz9cDfnIIbksUtHQtVyQ21froECbM5qfk.
Family members said they are grateful the Crabtreys have been approved to receive “some funding from FEMA” and for the help of Center Ridge Church of Christ volunteers, who donated.
Members of the Walton County Baptist Association Disaster Relief/Community Ministries also helped Alfred with his clean-up efforts.